In ancient times, there was a council of old gods based entirely on big cats (since big cats ‘ruled the world’ in far ancient times). They were known as the Pantheon, named so after the family Panthera (where all these gods originally came from, naturally!) They are often referred to as the Old Gods because… well… they are old gods now. They had many limitations, including having only one celestial form. They had specific sexes/genders chosen out of the two then-recognized, and were much more susceptible to derogatory legends and old tales connecting them. In general, they felt older, more “whimsical” in a cruel kind of way,
Kabu - a white lion cub representing light, purity, youth and ultimate comfort. Considered neutral despite friendly demeanor, as he has been represented as a wicked siren for mothers in times past who let their instincts get the better of them. In some folklore he is combined with the weather god Ansem, while in most others he is his son and protege. When represented as Ansem’s son, he is considered a demigod with a divine father and mortal mother. In Kabu’s legend, his mother is considered the most beautiful lioness to have ever existed, so much so that Ansem created a hurricane to suck her up into and take her into his realm. Her name was Vinera (sometimes spelled Vin’ra or Vineera, depending on local dialects).
Vinera - a lioness saint, hailed as the ultimate symbol of beauty (being the most attractive lioness to ever live). So beautiful was she that even the powerful god Ansem desired her. However, she was owned by a mortal male, alongside a number of other loose consorts in a semi-feral pride.
Ansem - a majestic white lion with clouds for fur (especially the mane and tail tip) and starry eyes/pawprints. He rules the weather, during both good times and bad. During nasty storms, it is said he is angry with his subjects and as such, turns to a darker grey version of himself, resembling storm clouds. He creates thunder with his vexed stomping, and lightning strikes where he glares. He is a sensitive god, and often cries during his angry bouts (hence rain during thunderstorms, etc) but not all the time. According to his representations and legends, many claim he has a mental disorder (bipolar being the most popular theory). Because of this association, he is also an accidental hero/advocate for many real animals suffering from these crazed, two-minded symptoms.
Strylla - a white tiger goddess who represents protection, fertility, the cycle of birth and death, and life itself. She is considered the mother of all life on earth, and sometimes as the wife of Ansem. Legend has it that she sacrificed her own fertility to create the world and all the life that inhabits it, leaving her womb too barren to bear herself or any of her numerous legendary partners any blood-related children. This is why many white tigers born infertile are recruited as high druids, authorized to carry out rituals for the most honorable visitors (such as kings of powerful lands).
Legends claim that the world and universe began with energy (mana?). Everything in the known universe did not exist just quite, but it was all there, in the form of energy. The force that brought together so much. Well, some time, the energy got active. Little by little, all the bits of energy in the universe began moving… and formed shapes. These shapes changed their texture, their density, their colors, their sounds, everything, until they formed into simple things. Blocks of hardened jelly material like rubber to walk on. Softer jelly in a simple wispy form inside a thin hard jelly jar, and of course two oddly-conscious gelatinous bodies, perceiving and observing and contemplating and planning. As the indecisive matter pieces mulled about, changing all of their properties casually as they floated within the vacuum-like nothingness, the two amoebas of matter wandered, moving of their own accord and even rejecting other matter’s propulsion.
Jache - a melanistic jaguar demigod, ruling (partially) over chaos, sin, and negative emotions. He thrived off of disorder, tension, hatred and division, and was blamed for the hardships and unfortunate events of the time. Nowadays, he is forgotten as the modern ‘universal’ gods took the place of the Pantheon, but soon he will come again… and when he does, the world had better be ready.
Jache has the ability to corrupt mortals, as well as summon dark shadow beings (most often in feral form, but bipedal shadows also exist) to get his dirty work done. These shadowy beings, known colloquially as “shadowbeasts”, are entities made entirely of darkness, feeding off of negative emotions and moving into areas considered ‘sin cesspools’. They help to subjugate the people, killing off the weakest of them and leaving the strongest fighting against his growing army of corrupted friends and family for both furthering his plans and just for his own sick amusement. The corrupted mortals are given new powers, new motives and a film over their eyes, obscuring everyone and everything they ever enjoyed and instead displaying nothing but negative thoughts and feelings, and no one but enemies and threats, to truly mindbreak them for ultimate slavery. Once someone has fallen under the corruptive spell of Jache’s wicked magic, the chances of ever escaping his control and fully recovering are next to nothing. As such, the seed of a shadowbeast is planted within their bodies, left to slowly consume their soul while they are being mindbroken, so that the beast may become extra large and powerful and serve him even better than the slave ever could. Once the soul is consumed, the body becomes bloated and decayed black, and their zombie body explodes from the heart outwards as the shadowbeast breaks free to wreak havoc on the lands.